Samsung announced the Galaxy Home at its Unpacked event back in August. At the time, Samsung did say that it would be available sometime in the future. The company did not give a specific date of availability for any country. But, the speaker did just pass through the FCC, which means that it is getting closer to releasing in the US. At this point, it would be surprising if Samsung had it on sale in time for the holidays, given the fact that Black Friday is just two weeks away from today – which is the biggest shopping day of the year.
The Galaxy Home was not mentioned during Samsung's Developer Conference keynote on Wednesday, but it was on display at SDC, which was the first time that the press was able to actually see the device. The Galaxy Home is a pretty large device, and it looks to be one of the largest smart speakers we've ever seen. It's a pretty strange looking smart speaker as well. Not only is it super-sized, but it also has three legs. Now the Galaxy Home will most likely have some great sound, and this is because Samsung owns HARMAN and has been using its AKG brand to tune a lot of the headphones and speakers in its mobile products as of late. And something that size, you would expect it to have a really good sound experience. Unfortunately, we still know virtually nothing about the Galaxy Home. Samsung teased it at Unpacked in August, but all we really know about the device is that it is going to be tuned by AKG, and it will also have Bixby inside – instead of Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. Which isn't a huge surprise, given the fact that Samsung is really trying to push its personal assistant as of late.
Background: The smart speaker segment has become a pretty big part of the tech industry in the past few years, and surprisingly, it all started with Amazon back in 2014 with the Echo. Google got into the game in 2016, with Apple joining in 2017 and it looks like Samsung will be joining in 2019 (unless they are able to sell it this year at some point). The reason why smart speakers have become so popular is because it allows people to bring these personal assistants in their home and use it without needing to have their phone with them at all times. For example, you could do things like "Hey Bixby, turn off the lights", while you are doing dishes, or maybe walking to your bedroom to go to bed. Not to mention the fact that smart speakers are just that, speakers. Consumers were already buying Bluetooth speakers like candy, so adding in a personal assistant like Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, Google Assistant or Samsung Bixby, was a no-brainer, as it allows companies to get more people using their personal assistants without really selling them something they wouldn't be buying anyways. Not to mention the fact that consumers can quickly ask their smart speaker a question like "how tall is LeBron James" instead of needing to open up their phone and search themselves.
Samsung was a bit late to the game in the world of personal assistants, with Bixby. And it is showing. Bixby is still far behind the competitors out there, so much so that many people are trying to turn off Bixby on their Samsung smartphones. Now Samsung has been working to improve Bixby over the past year and a half since it launched with the Galaxy S8, and have been adding it to more of its products, so that more people are using it – which will result in being able to improve it faster. And Samsung is also late to the smart speaker game. But instead of rushing to put one out, Samsung is still taking its time to make sure that it is actually a really good smart speaker. And with AKG working on this smart speaker, it should turn out to be one of the best sounding smart speakers. Now, not everyone will want to use Bixby, given how far ahead Google Assistant is right now, but that's what Samsung is going to push with the Galaxy Home.
Impact: The Galaxy Home is going to be entering what is already a very competitive market of smart speakers. Google and Amazon are already dominating this industry, and they have several different sizes and price points available for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, respectively. Not to mention the fact that it has been opened to third-parties, so you have companies like Harman Kardon, JBL, Sonos, Bose, Sony and others making smart speakers with their assistants inside. But Samsung isn't worried, and they really shouldn't be. Samsung is one of the largest electronics companies in the world, and the largest smartphone maker in the world, so the Galaxy Home is going to sell for Samsung, as long as it is put out when the speaker is finished.
Judging by the size of the Galaxy Home, this one won't be cheap, it may be close to $500 for this speaker. Which is quite a bit for a smart speaker, and that means that Samsung is likely targeting the more audiophile type of customers. Which is fine. That's a part of the market that no other smart speaker is really targeting right now. But it is important to note that Samsung has not yet put out any pricing or availability for the Galaxy Home, so this is all speculation right now. The Galaxy Home is going to be a rather interesting smart speaker for Samsung, and it wouldn't be surprising to see them put out a few other cheaper options, as a way to get users to use Bixby a bit more. After all, that is the entire reason for creating a smart speaker with your own personal assistant built-in, as opposed to using Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa inside. Hopefully Samsung will announce pricing and availability soon on the Galaxy Home smart speaker.